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Creating a simple illustration using the Pen and Gradient tools

From: Designing a Book Cover

Video: Creating a simple illustration using the Pen and Gradient tools

In the second part to creating this, the second of my book cover designs for George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, we are going to use Illustrator to create this simple, symbolic illustration that is behind our type. So currently we're looking at the finished version in InDesign and I'm now going to switch over to Illustrator. Frankly, we could do it in InDesign, but there is one reason why I want to do in Illustrator, and that's because having created these shapes, we can apply some simple effects to them just to give them a bit of texture.

Creating a simple illustration using the Pen and Gradient tools

In the second part to creating this, the second of my book cover designs for George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, we are going to use Illustrator to create this simple, symbolic illustration that is behind our type. So currently we're looking at the finished version in InDesign and I'm now going to switch over to Illustrator. Frankly, we could do it in InDesign, but there is one reason why I want to do in Illustrator, and that's because having created these shapes, we can apply some simple effects to them just to give them a bit of texture.

I'm thinking film grain specifically, which you cannot do in InDesign. So Illustrator has the edge in that respect. Otherwise the tools are essentially the same. So I'm going to start out by opening up the template that we created in the previous movie. Making sure that I'm on the artwork layer, with my Pen tool, and I'm coming outside of the page area to the bleed. And I'm just going to create a craggy ridge simply by clicking with the Pen tool.

And getting back to the point where I started, so I create a closed path. Now, at the moment that closed path has a white fill on a black stroke, so let's remove the stroke. And we're going to go to the fill and now we're going to apply a gradient fill to this. I'm going to tear off my Gradient panel. And start out by applying just the standard black-and-white gradient to this. I'm going to change the color of the gradient by just dragging colors from the Swatches panel to the color stops at the bottom of the gradient bar.

And I'm going to use this color. I'm going to have that be the start and the end. And then I'm going to drag white between the two. Now, I want to change the direction of the gradient. I could do it numerically here, but easier than that is to use the Gradient tool. I'll just drag where you want the gradient to go, and I think I want to grab something... I'm not sure.

You know you can just swipe over it multiple times. I think like that with a bit less of the whites. I'll adjust the diamonds on the top of the gradient bar too, all to have one color transition into another. Now, I'm going to draw a simple rectangle behind that and this is going to my sky. Into my sky I want another kind of gradient that's going to start out with a sort of golden yellow, and then transition to some sort of pink.

And finally, end up with the blue. Now, that's the wrong way around, so I'm going to change the angle. I'll do it numerically this time. And then I need to substantially, reduce the opacity of that. So I am going to come to my Transparency panel and bring that way down. And that pink really is a little bit too pink.

So I think I need to replace that color. So I'm going to come to my Color panel and makes a not quite so intense pink, which I'll then drag to my Swatches panel. So that I can reuse it. I managed to apply to the end of the gradient, which is not I wanted to do. So I'll just fix that. And that's not looking more like what I'm after.

And we'll turn off the guides. I see here that I have a solid line, which I definitely don't want, so what I need to do is I need to send this rectangle behind my ridge, and I can do that using object and Arrange > Send to Back or I can use the Layers panel for this. Just make sure that's behind there and that solves that problem. Now, I want to select the ridge and I'm going to apply just a few changes to it.

Firstly, I'd like to give it a little bit of texture, and to do that I'm going to come to the Effect panel and choose Artistic > Film Grain. Now, I'm not sure how well you'll see this on the monitor, but when this is printed it's going to give it a bit of oomph! So that everything is not quite so flat, but it's going to be very subtle. And I just want to grain of about 1, an intensity of 1, so you may need to dial these numbers down a bit from what you're starting with.

In addition to that, I'd also like to apply an inner glow. So I'm going to go back to the Effect menu and choose Inner Glow and then turn on Preview. And we can see now that just helps to bring out the definition at the top of the ridge. And we want it to be a little bit more on that. Maybe we do, but not quite as much as that.

So let me dial it down to about 14. The next element that we want to include is the flag. And for this, rather than use simple shapes, which I think that will end up looking too clean, I wanted to use the Blob Brush for a more freeform sort of look to it. So I'm going to switch to using the Wacom tablet and zooming in on the area where I want to draw the flag, I'll choose the Blob Brush.

So I'm going to choose the color, and I'm going to make sure that I have nothing selected, so that I don't add to an already drawn shape, but rather create a new one. And then draw myself in a very simplistic, almost childlike flag like so. Now that needs to get sent behind the shape of the ridge, so I'm just going to drag that down in my layers.

And there I think we have that background shape. In doing that I inadvertently applied the Film Grain and the Inner Glow, the effects that I'd applied to the previous shape to, the shape I just drew. So I'm going to select the flag and I'm going to take those two effects off, although I quite like the effect of the inner glow, but it's a little bit too much. So I'm going to edit the amount that is applied just to the flag, and I'm doing this through the Appearance panel.

And we're good to go. So I'm going to save this and call it trench. Then come back to InDesign, and in the beginning version of this particular design, typeeffects_begin, making sure I have the background Layer selected, I'll choose File and Place. And I'm going to place that image right there.

And then I will lock the background layer, so that we are now ready to go on and create the type in the next movie.

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This video is part of

Image for Designing a Book Cover
Designing a Book Cover

36 video lessons · 20281 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 2m 42s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 44s
  2. 29m 57s
    1. The project brief
      2m 30s
    2. Doing research
      4m 16s
    3. Setting up a document in InDesign CS5
      5m 4s
    4. Setting up a document in InDesign CS4
      6m 4s
    5. Putting your InDesign CS5 document on a grid
      3m 2s
    6. Putting your InDesign CS4 document on a grid
      4m 31s
    7. Setting up the document in Illustrator and placing it on a grid
      4m 30s
  3. 40m 39s
    1. Creating hand-drawn type with the Blob Brush tool
      4m 13s
    2. Using Live Paint to color type
      3m 40s
    3. Choosing typefaces
      3m 42s
    4. Creating a simple illustration using the Pen and Gradient tools
      8m 43s
    5. Applying type effects
      5m 42s
    6. Manual tracing
      4m 42s
    7. Using the gradient and transparency effects
      9m 57s
  4. 17m 27s
    1. Distressed type
      5m 42s
    2. More distressed type
      3m 35s
    3. Using mirrored type
      3m 34s
    4. Using giant wraparound text
      3m 56s
    5. Starting text on the cover
      40s
  5. 13m 7s
    1. Illustrating concepts with abstract shapes and transparency
      6m 27s
    2. Representing the book content with icons
      6m 40s
  6. 24m 8s
    1. Using historic photography
      6m 21s
    2. Using Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 19s
    3. Using gradient mesh in Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 55s
    4. Using Live Trace on a photograph
      3m 52s
    5. Using black-and-white images creatively
      4m 41s
  7. 25m 30s
    1. Developing a book set
      2m 50s
    2. Designing the back cover
      8m 42s
    3. Designing the flaps
      2m 41s
    4. Designing the spine
      11m 17s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. Using spot varnish
      4m 30s
    2. Preflighting your document
      4m 51s
    3. Preparing the PDF
      3m 35s
  9. 13s
    1. Goodbye
      13s

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